Exploring Evernote

1. Understand the power

Evernote is the Swiss army knife in an educator's toolbox!  It is an incredibly flexible tool for writing, collecting, discussing and presenting. Evernote is available on every platform AND many apps interact particularly well with Evernote.

What can you do with Evernote? This depends on whether you have a free, plus or premium account and features are slightly different depending on platform.  Here's a list of basic stuff you can generally do:

  • Create a note and sync it instantaneously across devices. Notes can contain text, hyperlinks, photos
  • Create a notebook and organize notes in it.
  • Clip content and save it to an Evernote note.
  • Share notebooks with others through a link or work chat.
  • Add attachments to notes.
  • Create to-do lists in notes.
  • With app and software versions, add a photo to an Evernote note.
  • With app and software versions, take a photo with your webcam or camera and put it directly into Evernote.
  • Set reminders within notes.
  • Scan documents using OCR technology which lets text become searchable within Evernote.

Play with Evernote this summer to see what potential it holds for you in terms of personal productivity. Then, perhaps you can transfer your ideas to potential student uses!

2. Select your Evernote version

The great thing about Evernote is that it's available for just about every platform. And, when you capture a photo or write a note, this information is automagically synced to the cloud and available on all your other devices.

Use Evernote on these devices:

Free vs. Paid

There are three levels to the Evernote freemium model . Free accounts allow you to clip content from across the web, share and discuss content with Evernote via work chat, and sync notes across phones and computers. Plus accounts ($24.99) provide the aforementioned features plus the ability to add a passcode lock on mobile apps, and save emails into Evernote. For $49.99, premium account holders also can search inside Office documents and attachments, turn notes into presentations, annotate attached PDFs, scan and digitize business cards, access revision history in notes, and view web content related to notes. For information about education pricing, click the button below.

3. Set up notebooks in Evernote

Before you start taking and making copious notes, create a few notebooks based an anticipated organizational structure. For instance, you may want to create notebooks for curriculum units, professional development materials, meeting notes, parental communication, etc. You can always add additional notebooks as needed, but it's helpful to have a few ready as you start using Evernote. You can always move notes to different folders or duplicate them if needed.

You can also set a default notebook where everything you clip goes into a designated folder. And, it's possible to organize notebooks in to groups called stacks.

For more tips and tricks, click on the following buttons.

4. Create tags to organize notes

Tags are keywords that add an additional layer to help keep your Evernote notebook organized. You can add tags to notes on the fly or set the up ahead of time. Make sure to check out the link below that suggests a great taxonomy to implement.

5. Create notes in a notebook

Next, create a note in Evernote and file it in an Evernote notebook of your choosing. Add tags to this note. Notice that you can do the following within notes:

  • Add attachments
  • Add checkboxes
  • Add tables

Depending on your chosen device, you may be able to take audio notes as well.

6. Install Evernote clipping tools

Tools are available for clipping content and saving it to Evernote. This is why Evernote is such a great tool for research. The Evernote Web Clipper is available for Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.

Here's a great demo of the Evernote Web Clipper from McKee Library.

7. Play with Skitch

Skitch is an app that you can install on Macs and iOS devices. It was acquired by Evernote and is now a member of the Evernote product line. It can be used separately as a standalone application or within the Evernote Web Clipper, and it allows for the annotation of images. Here's a screenshot of what annotation can look like while using the Evernote Web Clipper and the Chrome web browser.

Use Skitch to take screenshots and annotate through Evernote as needed for handouts and tutorials. You could also use this to take a screenshot of text and have students annotate for comprehension purposes. Use it in its app form to annotate photos and sync images to your Evernote account. There are just a few ideas for using Skitch in your classroom.

Here's how it looks when annotating a screenshot through Evernote. Note the Evernote toolbar to the right. When Save is pressed, the image is saved and synced directly to Evernote. The second picture here shows how this annotated image appears in my Evernote account (web version).

8. Explore other apps

Evernote owns several apps in addition to the Evernote app itself. Make sure to check out their full product line. Just an FYI... As of February 2015, Evernote no longers supports the apps Evernote Hello and Evernote Peek.

Additionally, there many other apps that have interactivity with Evernote. You can find these in the Evernote App Center below. Sort apps by platform and by purpose. There is a collection in the app center devoted to education. While many educators are familiar with basic uses of Evernote, its super powers come from working with a plethora of other apps.

You should also know that Evernote works with Post It Notes!

9. Working with Evernote & iOS 8

For iOS 8 users, remember that there is interoperability between apps. For instance, select a photo in your Photos app, click on the upload button in the lower lefthand corner, and in the ensuing options, select Evernote (you must have the Evernote app installed on your phone or iPad). You then can add text and add the photo to an Evernote note with a click. See the photos below to see these steps in action.

10. Ponder productivity uses

How can Evernote help your personal and professional productivity? List ideas for leveraging this tool in the comments at the bottom of this Evernote in this padlet . Also, browse this article for inspiration.

11. Contemplate instructional uses

This is a great demonstration of how teacher Cathy Mere used Evernote to prepare for parent/teacher conferences. What other ideas do you have for using Evernote in the classroom? Share them on our padlet !

Here is another example from McKee Library on using Evernote with RefWorks

Additional Resources

Please collaborate and share ideas for using Evernote in education by contributing to our group padlet below. Also, check out Lucy Gray's Evernote notebook that contains many more resources to explore.